Posted on by Neal Barnard, MD, FACC
Last Friday week was National Burger Day and we celebrated cooking up healthy and delicious plant-based veggie burgers. And recent data shows that we’re not alone: Over the past few months, veggie burgers and other plant-based meat substitutes have skyrocketed in popularity by 35%, outpacing the growth rate of meat products!
Keep reading to hear 10 reasons why the rising popularity of veggie burgers is great news.
1. Helps heart health: Swapping red meat for plant-based proteins can boost heart health! In fact, one recent Harvard study found that those who ate the most plant protein were 29% less likely to die from heart disease, compared with people who ate the least.
2. Reduces risk for colorectal cancer: A World Health Organization report found that eating just 100 grams of red meat – that’s less than the average burger – per day can raise the risk for colorectal cancer by about 17%.
3. Good for your wallet: Throughout the United States, meat prices are on the rise. As of April 2020, a pound of ground beef cost approximately $4.05, while a pound of beans – a common ingredient in homemade veggie burgers – cost just $1.49, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A recent survey found that going meatless can save up to $23 per week.
4. Accessible: No need to worry about meat shortages! Combining simple pantry staples – like beans, oats, and spices – with vegetables you may already have on hand will give you a delicious veggie burger.
5. Versatile: When it comes to veggie burgers, there’s something for everyone, whether you love beans, soy, oats, rice, sweet potatoes, greens, or other vegetables. Check out Engine 2's guide to building the perfect veggie burger from your favorite ingredients!
6. Saves water: Producing just one pound of beef requires 1,800 gallons of water (that’s the equivalent of about 100 showers for the average American!) One study estimated that if the United States replaced even half its meat consumption with plant-based alternatives, our food production would require 37% less water.
7. Reduces greenhouse gases: Swapping beef for beans would help the U.S. reach targeted greenhouse gas emission reductions, according to a report published in Climatic Change.
8. Keeps you feeling full: In one study, participants ate either a plant-based burger or a meat-based burger. Study participants self-reported that the veggie burger increased satiety and had them feeling full longer than the meat-based burger. The researchers noted that the veggie burgers were rich in fiber – a nutrient found in plant foods that adds bulk without adding extra calories.
9. Good for workers: Opting for veggie burgers is an opportunity to boycott the meat industry’s disregard for workers’ safety and human health. Meat processing plants have become hotbeds for the spread of COVID-19. Workers in these facilities reported a lack of protective gear, lack of social distancing, inadequate sick leave policies, and inadequate testing.
10. Veggie burgers are delicious! Plant-based burgers have dramatically risen in popularity among consumers in recent years. Data shows that in 2019, 228 million servings of plant-based burgers were sold at quick-service restaurants! Why? Because they’re delicious!
Here are two great vegan burger recipes!
Photo from here, with thanks.
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Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
Margo's impressive knowledge base is the result of a unique blend of educational and professional experience.
Dr. Neal Barnard
Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research.
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND is a pioneer of integrative medicine and a leading authority on science-based natural medicine.
Debi is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, a personal trainer, and whole health coach.
Teri is a is a Certified Coach Practitioner with extensive certifications and experience in holistic medicinal practices.
Dr. Rav Ivker
Dr. Rav Ivker is a holistic family physician, health educator, and best-selling author.
Susan writes about the connection between plant-based diets and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.
Dr. Rob Brown
Dr. Brown's blended perspective of healthcare includes a deeply rooted passion for wellness and spiritual exploration.